If you are a little too old to go trick-or-treating, tired of visiting the same ol’ haunted houses, or too bored to go to yet another in a line of similar Halloween parties, then you have found yourself in the awkward middle stage of freedom between being acting like a candy monster and having a little monster of your own. Solution: celebrate this spookiest of days by traveling to these four fearsome festivals, parades and eerie events.
Cheaptickets has found the most menacing, innovative and thrilling Halloween festivities that are worth the scare.
Full disclosure: CheapTickets doesn’t pay for this content. We cover these suggestions based on an editorial desire to bring solid content to readers about Halloween destinations. Regardless, reporting good deals to travelers is part of our mission. Please enjoy.
The Village Halloween Parade
Photo by Jemal Countess / Getty
The Village Halloween Parade is celebrating its 43rd annual parade with everyone from Medusa, the mad hatter, and even Hey Arnold attending. The free procession through Greenwich Village included hundreds of giant puppets created throughout the summer and fall by artists and technicians. Last year a giant spider and squid could be seen making their way through the parade. Along with the giant operating puppets, more than 50 bands of various styles, dancers, artists and thousands of New Yorkers, and non-locals march the streets in their creative costumes. Lose yourself with your imagination as you think of your must-have costume. With this year’s theme being Reverie, it would be the perfect place to find inspiration for the best costume.
When: October 31 at 7 p.m.
Where: On 6th Avenue North of Spring Street to 16th Street, New York City
Sample round trip airfare from Los Angeles to New York: $267
Travel Dates: October 29 – November 1
Krewe of Boo Parade & Other Festivals
Do you do Voodoo? Whether you do or not, the Krewe Boo Parade welcomes you to the Voodoo capital of America. While New Orleans offers gnarly ghost tours in the French Quarter, Garden District and Uptown year-round, they are especially uncanny near Halloween. Since 2007, the annual Krewe Boo parade has offered hellacious 3-dimensional papier-mâché or fiberglass sculptures and props have been welcoming the spirit world along with elaborately designed floats. Instead of the traditional beads, floats throw treats or local collectible objects.
Last year, Doubloons, PJs Coffee Frac Packs and Pralinettes from Aunt Sally’s were some of the items thrown to parade watchers. The parade usually begins at Elysian Fields and travel through the French Quarter going through N. Peters and Decatur Streets, to Jackson Square and then to the Warehouse District and all the way to the Convention Center. The party doesn’t stop there with the after party being at the Howlin Wolf. Make sure you wear a costume, or you’ll defiantly be out of place. The French Quarter erupts with parties on Halloween with the most popular being in the Faubourg Marigny.
When: Krewe of Boo Parade is Oct. 22 at 6 pm / Throughout October
Where: Beginning at Elysian Fields / Various locations in New Orleans
Sample round trip airfare from Los Angeles to New Orleans: $382
Travel Dates: October 21 – 24
The Festival of the Dead
Photo courtesy of Chad Champoux
What better place to celebrate the Festival of the Dead than in the town known for its history of witchcraft allegations, Salem, Massachusetts. If you have ever been intrigued by modern-day witchcraft, this is the place you need to be. The Festival of the Dead’s official website states, “an annual event series that explores death’s macabre customs, historical histories, and strange rituals.”
The main events occurring closer to Halloween include the Official Salem Witches Halloween Ball, the Dumb Supper, Mourning Tea and the Salem Witches’ Magic Circle. The Halloween Ball takes place on October 28 at the historic Hawthorne Hotel featuring hors d’oeuvres, costume contests, performances, live music from the Dragon Ritual Drummers, psychic readings, ancient magical rituals and drum circles, you might find yourself staying in Salem forever, one way or another.
When: The Official Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball is Oct 28, at 7:30 pm – Oct 29, at 12:30 am
Where: Various locations in Salem, MA
Sample round trip airfare from New York to Boston: $121
Travel Dates: October 27 – 31
The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
The bone-chilling Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor might be full of ghouls monsters and the undead, but you shouldn’t be worried about them. Keep a close eye out for ghosts because the carnival is located on and near an allegedly haunted ship. In 1936, the RMS Queen Mary took her maiden voyage but now is resting in Long Beach with the alleged spirits who lost their lives on the ship. If visiting the sinister haunted house and themed carnival doesn’t get your blood curdling, stay overnight in one of the 346 original First-Class Staterooms or nine Suites on one of the ship’s three decks. Along with the Panic 4-D theater experience, Dark Harbor also officers six haunted mazes with over 200 monsters lurking in the corners. Remember, scream loud.
When: September 30 – October 31
Where: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA
Sample round trip airfare from New York to Los Angeles: $311
Travel Dates: October 27 – 31
*All lead pricing sample rates shown were accurate and available on CheapTickets.com on 10/12/16 for travel from New York or Los Angeles from October 21- November 1, 2016 and may not represent current prices because our real-time pricing booking engine is constantly updating prices and availability.
Lead photo courtesy of Chad Champoux
Lauren Spiler is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. Most just call her Spiler.